With escalating rates of radiation, and an upgrade to 7 in terms of severity, it’s not only humans who have suffered from Japan’s 9 magnitude earthquake, tsunami and radiation leakage in northeastern Japan. Thousands of dogs, cats, and other domestic animals have been literally abandoned by their owners and left to suffer and die of starvation and effects of radiation leakage from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants, which has been leaking into the Pacific Ocean.
The fate of abandoned animals in the area of the nuclear plant “dead zone” is particularly disturbing; as seen on a video published recently the UK’s Daily Telegraph:
In this video dogs are roaming in packs to search for food, while cattle wander aimlessly about with the dogs looking on cattle as a possible food source. When people were evacuated from areas near the disabled nuclear plant many were not allowed to take their pets with them.
A Ukrainian woman named Natalia Manzurova who was involved in clean-up operations near Chernobyl during this time said that regarding abandoning pets:
“The people had only a few hours to leave, and they weren’t allowed to take their dogs or cats with them. The radiation stays in animals’ fur and they can’t be cleaned, so they had to be abandoned.
“That’s why people were crying when they left. All the animals left behind in the houses were like dried-out mummies. But we found one dog that was still alive. We found her lying in one of the children’s cots there. Her legs were all burned from the radiation and she was half blind. Her eyes were all clouded from the radiation. She was slowly dying.”
When they returned to the site, a childrens’ nursery school a few days later, they found the dog, who was very fond of children, lying dead in the nursery. She was apparently waiting for the children to return there.
Abandoning pets during wartime or national emergencies is often far too common, as was evidenced during the 2006 war in Lebanon when pet owners in both Lebanon and Israel had to abandon them due to their not being allowed into public shelters or due to the sheer rush of fleeing a war zone.
Government enforced “no pet policies” forced pet owners to abandon dogs, cats, and other pets, many of which died from starvation.
Lebanese Stray dogs: shot on site?
Pet abandonment and abuse in many Middle Eastern countries is an all too common occurrence even normal times, and occurs on a regular basis in Lebanon, where stray dogs are shot on site.
In Egypt, more than 300,000 pigs were killed for no real reason during the worldwide swine flu epidemic in 2009. Horses, camels and other domestic animals were killed and severely abused during the recent street violence and demonstrations in Egypt
Pets and domestic animals are often seen as “the silent sufferers” during wartime and natural emergencies. But far too often, they are abused needlessly; and without enough caring people to act on their behalf. One can measure the health of society on how they treat their animals, perhaps.
Read more on animal abandonment and abuse in natural and national emergencies:
Around Fukushima: The Dead Zone
Chernobyl cleanup survivor to Japan: run away as quickly as possible
Stray dogs shot dead in Lebanon
Horses: The Silent Victims of Egypt’s Revolution